Welcome to SPJ Leading Edge, a blog built just for chapter leaders. Youll find tools and information to help build, grow and sustain active and successful chapters, the very backbone of SPJ. Well highlight programs, provide best practices for things like finance and governance and answer some of the most popular leadership questions. Contact Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator, for anything and everything chapter related.
Posts Tagged ‘chapters’
By Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator | April 22nd, 2013
The Chapter Grant Committee decided to not award any grants this month, rolling over the $500 cold, hard cash to next month where we’ll be giving away multiple grants for amazing chapter programs.
I’m sure you all know the drill already. The deadline is May 1 and you don’t want to miss out, so apply soon!
By Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator | April 5th, 2013
Annual Reports, Annual Reports, Annual Reports, Annual Reports, Annual Reports…
Campus – May 1
Professional – May 6
I’m pretty sure you’re picking it up. As always, if you have questions – contact Tara Puckey, Chapter Coordinator, via email or phone (317.927.8000, ext. 215).
By Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator | January 25th, 2013
Hey chapters, here’s a heads up:
Over the last six months, two of our local chapters have discovered mishandling of their funds. In an effort to help chapters practice fiscal responsibility, the exec committee recently approved a motion to require pro chapters to submit 12 months of bank statements with their annual reports for the time period covered by the report.
Pro chapters will submit 12 months of chapter bank statements, for all chapter accounts, with their annual reports.
Good news: You have time. Start getting your books in order. Conduct monthly audits to make sure you’re ready. And when I say audit, I don’t mean glance over the Word doc your treasurer handed to you – take a look at those statements, reconcile the checkbook, view cashed checks, ask questions. Trust me, it’s worth it in the long run.
The statements are considered part of the annual report and if they’re not included, it’s not considered a complete report.
Questions? Email me, call me (317-927-8000, ext. 215). I’m happy to help walk you through our financial best practices, answer tax questions or just listen to your chapter concerns.
By Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator | September 6th, 2012
Mark your calendar now, or better yet, favorite the session in your handy EIJ12 app!
Professional chapter leaders, I’ll see you on Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. to talk programming, membership, communication and more. And campus leaders, show up on Saturday from 12 to 2 p.m. Interested in advising a campus chapter but you’re a pro? Head to both! Post-grad member trying to figure out how to connect with young professionals in a pro chapter? Head to both! No matter what, I’d like to see you there!
But don’t come empty handed. Bring some of your favorite chapter ideas and materials to share with others. Have a board member handbook? Bring it along! Have a great flyer you just created for an amazing program? Bring that, too!
You shouldn’t wait for the session to participate! I want to hear your burning questions about SPJ leadership and chapter growth and development. Fuel the discussion before we even get there! Comment on this post, share your question on Facebook or post to Twitter using the hashtags #EIJ12 and #SPJleaders.
By Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator | September 6th, 2012
A few weeks ago, we posted some best practices for chapter finance to the Leading Edge, where you commented with ideas and corrections. Don’t forget – these are just suggestions. As chapter leaders, you’ve got to do what works best for your chapter.
And now, we’ve wrapped all that up into an interactive tutorial. Enjoy!
By Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator | August 8th, 2012
Today is the deadline for the first round of SPJ Chapter Grants. So if you don’t get on the ball, you’ll have to wait until the next round, which ends Sept. 5.
- Apply online
- Have plans for a unique, cool or amazing program
- Proposals should be submitted for programs occurring within 90 days of the cycle deadline
- Grant proposals must be submitted for each deadline, they do not automatically rollover
- Chapters selected will receive funds AFTER the chapter submits the required grant program recap, along with receipts, within 15 days of the completion of the program
Want some inspiration from the past? Check out what past grant recipients have done with their cold, hard cash.
Questions? Email Tara Puckey, Chapter Coordinator.
By Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator | July 31st, 2012
Websites, Twitter, Facebook, E-Blasts… There are two schools of thought when it comes to tech tools and journalism – either you love ‘em or you hate ‘em.
In a recent conversation with Regional Directors, I realized SPJ is all over the board on this one. Some chapters choose to promote events almost exclusively through the use of technology, while others prefer the pen to paper approach. Neither is better than the other, of course, but in order for chapters to effectively reach members, it’s important to understand and implement both types of networking.
To make your life a little easier, I’ll try to post some tools - software, websites, gadgets - on the Leading Edge more frequently. Hopefully at least one tool will be helpful in better communicating with your members and communities.
Be sure to share your own ideas by leaving a comment, or telling us how each of the tools worked (or didn’t) for you.
An amazing tool for chapters to use with their board. A feed keeps track of conversations without long email trains, calendars keep everyone in sync, files can be shared and stored, host virtual meetings and conference calls for FREE and group messages can even be sent via text. Best of all, it’s user-friendly.
Short for “If This, Then That.” There are a ton of channels (or actions, as it makes more sense to me) from Facebook to email, to small social networking sites, to phone and email.
Users pick a channel (example – Twitter) and an action associated with that channel (example – a new follower) and then another channel (example – Twitter) and another action (example – tweet “Thanks for connecting! Find out more information about SPJ and join us today!”). Did I lose you?
Basically, you can set Twitter to automatically send a thank you note and links about joining, programs, your chapter website, every single time your Twitter has someone new follow it.
This is a simple, easy way to schedule things (meetings, programs, etc.) for multiple people. Create an event, ask people to note which times work for them and view the time that’s compatible for the most people. Finally, we can get rid of those 50,000 emails back and forth with no end result, right?
By Tara Puckey, SPJ Chapter Coordinator | July 26th, 2012
Earlier this week, you received an email with some financial “best practices,” collected and compiled by chapter leaders from across the country. In case you missed it, here it is again:
SPJ CHAPTER FINANCES:
As a board member it is your legal responsibility to keep tight oversight on chapter funds – even if you aren’t the treasurer.
By understanding and implementing some of the following recommendations, you can greatly decrease your exposure to misappropriation of chapter funds and other problems.
BEST PRACTICES WORK ONLY IF YOU USE THEM! IN OUR EXPERIENCE, PROBLEMS OCCUR WHEN BOARD MEMBERS SIMPLY DON’T TAKE THE TIME TO REVIEW ACCOUNTS!
INCOME & EXPENSES
- Require two signatures on all checks. Designate another officer/board member or two as online banking administrator(s) to routinely review the account(s).
- Circumstances may dictate that only one person, the treasurer, sign the check, but having a separate online banking administrator or two is still highly recommended.
- Require officer approval of any expenditure over $25; board approval of any expenditure over $100.
- Income and expenditures should remain separate in your records. If you receive $100 for a pizza party and spend $50, you received $100 and spent $50, not received a net of $50.
- Avoid credit/debit cards; they are too easily abused.
- If a card is necessary, check with your bank to see if you can restrict the card’s use for large expenses only. For example, more than $100 but not more than $500 or only for bills above $500.
- Have the treasurer transfer funds from the chapter PayPal account to the chapter’s general checking account after each event for which the PayPal account is used. Have someone else monitor the account.
- If the board votes on a money matter directly affecting a board member, that board member should recuse themselves, even leave the room to allow a full and frank discussion.
- When depositing funds in the chapter bank account, use a “For Deposit Only” rubber stamp on the back of checks. No individual should sign a check made out to the chapter.
- One person should fill out a deposit slip. Someone else should actually make the deposit and return the slip to the person who filled it out.
THE TREASURER’S DUTIES
The treasurer maintains the following financial records:
1.) A paper check stub for each check written, or copy of self-duplicating check.
2.) A computer record (Excel or Quicken) of each check written, with a detailed breakdown of specific amounts for various purposes.
3.) Electronic and printed copy of each monthly bank statement.
4.) A file of receipts, each notated with the check number for payment
5.) Information needed for financial section of the annual chapter report to national.
6.) The chapter’s federal (and state, if required) tax records, including Employer Identification Number and letter verifying tax-exempt status. SPJ chapters typically are subordinate entities of the national organization and are tax-exempt nonprofits, typically under Section 501(c)(6) of the IRS code. Some chapters are 501(c)(3). Know the difference.
The treasurer prepares and/or files these reports:
1.) Monthly report to the chapter board, detailing income and expenses.
2.) Financial section of annual report to national.
3.) Annual Form 990, EZ 990 or E-card 990 with the IRS.
4.) Any state or local forms required of nonprofits and tax-exempt organizations.
We recommend keeping critical records in a single three-ring binder as well as on your computer.
- Create a budget, using the last 5 years of expenses as a guide. Plan for the worst year.
- Examine whether you’re on budget each quarter. Spending/fundraising over or under?
- Monthly treasurer’s report should discuss the state of the budget. Do you need an
emergency fundraiser or cut back on spending?
- Scholarships are an ongoing commitment. Do your best to have 10 years of funds on hand.
ABOUT THE ANNUAL REPORT
The annual report to national headquarters of your chapter’s activities requires a brief synopsis of your chapter’s finances.
- Appoint a committee of three to review the financial section of the annual report and have its members sign a statement attesting to its accuracy.
- The three reviewers should include the chapter president (or designee), a member of the board who is not an officer and a third party with some financial experience (e.g., a local financial reporter, a senior accounting major or local accountant willing to provide pro bono service).
- The regional director will review the annual reports and verify with at least one member of the review panel that the chapter’s finances were reviewed.
After she had a chance to look it over, Liz Enochs, the President of the Northern California chapter, had a few important thoughts. Here’s what she had to say:
One person should fill out a deposit slip. Someone else should actually make the deposit and return the slip to the person who filled it out.
That item strikes me as impracticable. It’s challenging enough to get one person to go to the bank and make a deposit — having to coordinate w/yet another person seems like an unnecessary obstacle.
Here’s what our chapter does: We have two signers on our account – the president (me) and the treasurer. Anytime I make a deposit I have our bank email a copy of the deposit slip to myself and the treasurer, and if further explanation is warranted, I email that to the treasurer.
Require officer approval of any expenditure over $25; board approval of any expenditure over $100.
I understand the sentiment, which is that oversight and constraints are needed, but that has to be balanced against the possibility of nickel-and-dime approval requirements turning things into a bureaucratic nightmare. Rather than following a specific-dollar-amount mandate from national, I would say the important thing here is for the full board to be involved in monitoring finances and setting limits and guidelines on how chapter money is to be spent.
Do you have thoughts you need to share? Post a comment here! We’d love to hear from you.